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At CPAC, conservatives search for message that wins elections

BY Rachel Wellford  March 7, 2014 at 8:13 PM EDT

Thousands of conservative activists gathered just outside of the nation’s capital this week to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference, the largest political gathering for those that lean right.

Many attendees came to the conference to learn more effective ways to spread their conservative message. Throughout the speeches from Republican party leaders and among the crowds, conversation focused on how to use that message in order to win the mid-terms in November and the presidential election in 2016.

On the first day of CPAC, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said, “We don’t get to govern if we don’t win. And it’s not only bad when we don’t get to govern, because we don’t get to mold and change our society. What’s worse is they do.”

“Let us come out here resolved not only to stand for principles, but let’s come out of this conference resolved to win elections again.”

But within the party, there is a clear divide between tea party supporters and traditional Republicans. One participant, Jeff Frazee, told PBS NewsHour he throws his support behind leaders like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, over the more moderate conservatives because he thinks they are more likely to bring future success to the GOP.

“If the Republican party wants to survive it has to embrace Libertarian wing. If it doesn’t, I think you’re going to have a shrinking party,” Frazee said. “Where the growth is in the party, where the excitement and energy is with young people and libertarianism.”

CPAC wraps up on Saturday with speeches from Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.


Video shot and edited by Quinn Bowman